What’s happened to cause Sen. Josh Hawley’s U-turn on Ukraine?

Darrell Todd Maurina
4 min readMar 4

What’s happened with our Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Ukraine? A year ago, he was saying “the most important thing we can do” was to arm the Ukrainians resisting Russian attacks. Today, he’s saying this: “The truth is that Joe Biden, and, let’s face it, congressional Republicans, have spent over $100 billion and counting on the Ukraine war, and meanwhile the folks in East Palestine, Ohio, have poison in the water, poison in the air… I would just say to Republicans: You can either be the party of Ukraine and the globalists or you can be the party of East Palestine and the working people of this country.”

It’s easy to do what George F. Will and others are doing by attacking Josh Hawley for being a “human windsock,” in other words, being blown by the wind of public opinion. It’s harder to take the time to listen to what he’s actually saying and why he’s changed. John McCormack of National Review has done that, and also interviewed other hard-right conservatives such as Senator Ted Cruz who haven’t made the same switch.

Here’s a link to John McCormack’s National Review article:

And here’s George F. Will’s criticism of Hawley: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2023/02/22/ukraine-war-isolationists-hawley-republicans/

I’m frankly not sure what to make of Hawley’s position.

I think a very good case can be made that this is Europe’s problem and the Europeans, not the Americans, need to be primarily responsible for fixing it. To be fair, the European funding for the Ukrainians has significantly increased, and the main effect so far of Vladimir Putin’s attack has been to galvanize Europeans against Russia, not only for the short term, but putting enough fear of Russia into countries like Sweden and Finland to push them into NATO.

A very good case can also be made that if Putin isn’t stopped now, it won’t be long before we’re forced to defend an actual NATO member against Russian aggression — and then we won’t have a choice anymore. An even better case can be made that what President Putin thought would be a “cakewalk,” taking Ukraine in a matter of days or weeks, needed to be prevented to give a strong warning to President Xi of China not to try the same in Taiwan.